The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) today unveiled far-reaching development plans which will transform its Preston Campus.
UCLan’s vision over the next 10 years is to create a unified, sustainable and welcoming campus which will enhance the experience for all those visiting the University.
The new campus will integrate seamlessly with the rest of the City, benefitting current and future generations of students, staff, visitors and the wider community.
Subject to planning approval, the first stage of the development will see the construction of the £30 million-plus Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC) commencing in January 2016.
Simultaneously, work will begin on the creation of an iconic gateway to the University. At its heart will be a remodelled Adelphi roundabout with the construction of a new public space, provisionally known as *Adelphi Square, drawing together the University and the City.
UCLan’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry Kelleher said:
Over the coming decade we will invest in the region of £200 million to create a world-class campus environment which blends new facilities with the creation of public, green spaces to encourage people from all over the City to visit and enjoy the campus.
The project is also hoped to spark a major focus on regeneration and business investment in the University quarter with wider benefits for Preston and beyond.
The Vice-Chancellor added:
Developing a skilled workforce which meets local, national and international needs is central to our development plans. Future investments like the Engineering Innovation Centre will reflect that goal, helping to create jobs, kick-start regeneration and attract inward investment into the City.
Our vision for the future of the University is shared and supported by our project partners Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council. We also want to listen to and work with our neighbours and all the community, to ensure the City and region benefit from the tremendous cultural and economic opportunities that our plan will create.
Other key aspects of the plan include:
- The creation of a new student services building which will link to the existing UCLan library via an elevated glass walkway. This will replace the demolished Fylde building, which borders the Adelphi roundabout.
- The landscaping and conversion of the historic canal basin on Maudland Bank into a public walkway with a specially designed trail and cycle route.
- Encouraging communities and businesses to work with the University to regenerate the area around Corporation Street and Friargate. The aim is to boost inward investment and deliver new business and commercial opportunities for the City.
- Relocating car parking from the centre to the edge of the campus in safe, well lit locations whilst retaining a small number adjacent to buildings and open spaces, to ensure provision for mobility impaired staff and students, visitors, deliveries and maintenance.
- Reconfiguring and improving the environmental quality of the resulting spaces through landscaping. The vision is to create a unified, green campus where internal and external events and exhibitions could be located, transforming the functional into social, communal and recreational.
- Creating a healthy, safe, active and sustainable campus.
Lee MacNeall, UCLan Students’ Union President, said:
I think this is a brilliant opportunity for UCLan to develop the campus. Not only will it be great for students, enabling them to explore Preston for the great City it is, but I also think it can play a key role in boosting the local economy.
Today, 2 February, the University begins a month-long public engagement process to gather views on the proposals. A dedicated Masterplan website can be accessed at www.uclan.ac.uk/masterplan which incorporates full details of the plan along with a feedback questionnaire for the submission of views and ideas. Additional face-to-face, public engagement drop-in sessions will also take place on campus and within the city centre with UCLan staff available to answer questions.
These public and community engagement events will take place on:
Friday 6 February, 12 noon-7.00pm, UCLan Foster Building Foyer
Wednesday 11 February, 12 noon-7.00pm, UCLan Foster Building Foyer
Saturday 21 February, 10.00am-4.00pm, St George’s Shopping Centre, Upper Mall space, Friargate entrance (top of the escalator).
Wednesday 25 February, 10.00am-4.00pm St George’s Shopping Centre, Upper Mall space, Friargate entrance (top of the escalator).
The University is encouraging all interested parties and stakeholders in the local community to examine the plans so that all views can be taken into consideration. The public engagement process will complete on Friday 6 March at 4.00pm.
Work will then begin on finalising the key aspects of the proposals involving further consultations with project partners Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council.
The proposals have been welcomed by key public figures from across the City:
Councillor Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “The University’s plans reflect the county council’s vision for an attractive, well-connected and walkable city, which is easy to get around using all modes of transport. Our engineers have been working alongside the University for several months over these proposed changes to the Adelphi roundabout and we believe we have developed a solution which will cater for everyone, including walkers and cyclists or those using buses and cars.”
Councillor Peter Rankin, Leader of Preston City Council, said: “This is a significant development in the continuing success story of the University. A successful university is crucial for Preston. We now have an opportunity to create a lasting legacy for future generations of students, academics, local people and for the City as a whole.”
Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said the University’s plans would complement the redevelopment work already achieved within the City: “The redevelopment of Preston’s main gateways is vital and UCLan is central to more than one of them. The economic role played by an expanded and strengthened University will aid our regeneration efforts by bolstering the local economy and underpinning long-term sustainable economic growth.”
Mark Hendrick, MP for Preston, said: “The University has unveiled plans which are both bold and imaginative. I would urge my constituents and all stakeholders to take part in the public consultation process and help shape this redevelopment into a shared vision that is beneficial to citizens and the student population.”